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Student loan forgiveness support split between Washington Democrats, Republicans

Biden's announcement to forgive the student loans of millions of Americans immediately became a major political issue ahead of the November midterm elections.

SEATTLE — A majority of Washingtonians support President Joe Biden's student debt relief plan, including those who did not go to college themselves, according to new WA Poll results released Thursday.

Biden's plan, first announced in August, would forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for those with incomes less than $125,000 or households that make less than $250,000. Additionally, those who received federal Pell Grants are eligible for an added $10,000 in relief.

The plan makes 20 million eligible to get their federal student debt erased entirely, including hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. More than 782,000 people in Washington state owe a total of $28.2 billion in federal student loan debt, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

The announcement immediately became a major political issue ahead of the November midterm elections.

According to WA Poll results, 55% of Washington adults polled said they support Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, with 34% being opposed to it.

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Most conservatives, Republicans and those who voted for former President Donald Trump, oppose the plan, along with a majority of 50- to 64-year-olds, the results showed.

The highest amount of support came from respondents who are parents that identify as Liberal and that attended a four-year college.

A federal appeals court late last week issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking Biden's plan, throwing the program into limbo just days after people began applying for loan forgiveness.

Biden said last week that nearly 22 million people applied for relief in the week since his administration made its online application available — more than half of the number the White House believes are eligible for the program.

Student loan payments are expected to restart on Jan. 1 after being paused during the pandemic.

The WA Poll was commissioned by KING 5, The Seattle Times, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication and was conducted by SurveyUSA. It surveyed 875 adults from Oct. 14-19, 2022. Of those adults, 719 were registered voters. The poll represented the demographics of Washington state with 46% from the metro Seattle area, 30% from western Washington and 24% from eastern Washington.

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